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Natural Habitat Adventures Offers Round-Trip Charter Flights Across Drake Passage on Rare Sailboat Exploration of Antarctica

Story by AdventureSmith Explorations


The world’s premier nature travel company, Natural Habitat Adventures, announces a new opportunity for guests to fly to and from the White Continent on its Antarctica Sailing Expedition—The Ultimate Polar Nature Adventure.

Kayaking and Sailing Antarctica

The new “fly both ways” itinerary will debut with the Dec. 12, 2016, departure from Punta Arenas, Chile. Two additional round-trip flight itineraries have been added for 2017. The 12- to 17-day adventure (depending on itinerary chosen) also offers departures that fly one way across Drake Passage and sail the reverse. Guests aboard all departures will explore the Antarctic Peninsula aboard the 75-foot polar expedition sailboat Australis.

“Choosing to fly both ways by chartered plane allows guests to save time,” said Ben Bressler, founder and president of Nat Hab. The option bypasses the voyage across Drake Passage, a journey that typically takes three days in seas that are notorious for frequent gales.

Flights land at King George Island in the South Shetland group where guests will board the ice-strengthened sailing vessel to begin an exclusive polar nature adventure. Each departure accommodates just seven guests on this unique-to-Nat Hab vessel that offers a taste of how legendary expeditioners encountered Antarctica. The per-person rate is from $22,995. In addition to the expedition cruise and flight, pre- and post-voyage hotel accommodations are also included.

S/V Australis is a modern sailboat that’s a seasoned veteran of polar waters, with state-of-the-art navigation and safety equipment. A crow's nest with ladder access offers 360-views and fantastic wildlife viewing. Guests are hosted by Nat Hab’s naturalist Expedition Leader and crew members, who provide hearty and tasty meals throughout the journey.

The nimble dimensions of the 75-foot Australis allow exploration of remote coves, narrow passages and isolated beaches that larger ships can’t access. And in contrast to the typical ship-based Antarctica voyages that generally spend four to seven days making shore excursions on the Antarctic Peninsula, this itinerary calls for eight to 12 shore adventures (depending on weather and sea conditions), several of which are exclusive to this vessel.

While some ships offer a single night’s camping on the ice at an additional cost, Nat Hab holds special permits from the National Science Foundation that allow its guests to spend up to six nights camping ashore (weather permitting, included in the voyage price) in remote locations frequented only by penguins and seals, rather than ship-based crowds. Guests also enjoy intimate kayak outings and extended hikes to view whales, seals, penguins, a multitude of seabirds and astounding icebergs at close range. The company employs the best and most up-to-date equipment available, including top-quality safety and survival gear, tents, kayaks and camping equipment.

The skipper of the S/V Australis, Ben Wallis, has an impressive maritime resume. On or around boats since before he could walk, he sailed at age 16 in the prestigious Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, sparking his interest in Southern Ocean sailing. In 1997 at age 18, he began crewing on yachts in Antarctica alongside his father, a seasoned skipper in polar waters. He worked his way up to skippering the S/V Australis, operating in both Arctic and Antarctic polar regions for approximately eight months each year. He holds multiple certifications for offshore safety and sea survival training and guides a crew that is also exceedingly experienced in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters.

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For information on all of Nat Hab’s trips, descriptive itineraries, date availability and reservations, call 800.543.8917 or visit Click HERE to order a copy of the 2016 catalog.